When Love Isn’t Enough: Ending a Client Relationship
Working closely with clients, especially in a highly sensitive area, such as legal or financial matters, you get to know clients on a personal level. If you’re lucky, you really like your clients.
But what happens when you love your clients, but they aren’t a good fit for your culture? You may have qualified them when they first inquired about your company, but something changed or you overlooked a warning sign because you liked them.
What do you do when love is not enough?
A member of my team recently presented this question to me. We’re working with a long-time client we ‘love,’ but the dynamic has changed, and we’re perplexed on how to move forward.
Ultimately, we decided we need to separate from this client. It was a learning experience, to say the least. These are a few of our takeaways.
Put emotions aside and focus on what’s really working. Enabling the situation will not make it better. Write down what your ideal client looks like. Does this client still have those characteristics?
Honesty is the best policy. Be frank about what you’re seeing with the client—you might be surprised to learn they feel the same way!
Evaluate your clients often. Go through your current client list and have your team rank each client in order of their fit for your organization. You may need to break up with a few.
People grow and change, as do business relationships. It’s okay to move on from a client that was once a great client, but is no longer a good fit for your company.
We’ve made it a priority to continuously evaluate our relationships with clients, looking through the lens of what’s best for everyone involved. Because sometimes love just isn’t enough.
Have you ever had to break up with a client? We’d love to hear more about your experience.